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Jobs for language graduates

  • If you’ve just graduated university with a degree in languages, you’re in luck! Jobs in linguistics are integral to the functioning of the public and private sector. As such, the linguistics opportunities available to language grads are practically limitless. Careers in linguistics range from jobs with languages at their core, such as translator positions, to jobs that posit languages as a secondary feature, such as customer service jobs.

    Most graduates interested in foreign language job opportunities will be looking to apply for junior-level roles, so let’s have a closer inspection of some of the most common junior linguistics roles available to grads…

    Junior Translator – A Junior Translator or Translation Assistant will either work in-house or as a freelancer, helping to render material written in an original ‘source’ language into a different language. A translation team will work to ensure that the new text matches the meaning of the original text as closely as possible. Translation and interpretation graduate language jobs are very similar, with the distinguishing factor being that translators focus solely on written copy.

    Assistant Interpreter – An interpreter focuses on simultaneous or consecutive vocal translations. For instance, an in-house interpreter may assist in company meetings involving employees or clients from different locations. These kinds of jobs for linguistics graduates require top multi-tasking abilities, as you will be expected to listen, understand and memorise the original speech to then reproduce it in the required language – sometimes in real time!

    Graduate Researcher – If you’re looking for masters in linguistics jobs or linguistics phd jobs, you should consider going into academic research. Researcher jobs involve carrying out in depth investigation and analysis into key areas of development in linguistics. The aim of a language researcher is to progress our current understanding of linguistics as a subject.

    Customer service, sales and business development are areas that offer jobs for language speakers who are looking for opportunities that aren’t directly related to language degrees. If you’re not sure what kind of language roles are the right fit for you, you can utilise our specialist careers resources to uncover what doors your skills and experience can open.

  • Are you uncertain about whether you can apply to modern languages graduate jobs? The requirements for graduate jobs in second languages will differ for each role. However, there are certain skills that are asked for by nearly every employer looking to fill a language vacancy…

    The most obvious requirement for jobs in linguistics is language skills. If you’re applying to entry level positions, you will need to be fluent in at least two languages – the source language and the target language of the job. For instance, if you are working in translation for a French company with an English clientele, you will be required to be fluent in both French and English. Most employers will ask for this fluency to be evidenced by an undergraduate degree in the relevant language(s), unless you are a native speaker. Obtaining a postgraduate qualification or a professional diploma in translation would be desirable to employers but is not a necessary prerequisite for entry level roles.

    Relatedly, top written skills are essential for linguistic roles. Having a great command of grammar and being a stickler for accuracy and attention to detail is really important to employers – make sure to evidence this on your CV. Being able to work to close deadlines is also a key attribute for aspiring language graduates, as most translation and interpretation is required either simultaneously or in fast succession. Industry-related work experience is a great way to evidence these skills to employers, but it is not a necessity. What is important to businesses hiring at entry level is that graduates are passionate about the industry and possess a set of transferable skills that will allow them to build a successful language career.

  • If you’re an undergraduate that is looking to begin your language career after university, the key is to be proactive. Look for jobs for language students such as internships or work placements is a great way of gaining work experience that will demonstrate your skills and passion to future employers. If you’re struggling to find paid student opportunities, volunteering as a translator for charities in the sector you would like to work in can be a really rewarding option e.g a pro bono interpreter for a defendant in a legal case. If your degree offers a year abroad, utilise it to improve your understanding of the cultural nuances of language.

    Once you have graduated, the best way to get going with your job search is to apply to junior and entry level language roles such as graduate schemes. The best place to find such roles is on a graduate recruitment website, such as Give a Grad a Go. What distinguishes our website from other graduate recruitment companies is our understanding that language graduates are looking to start their careers at the best companies, not just in the best roles. As the top recruitment agency for graduates in the UK, we’ve helped hundreds of language candidates find graduate jobs at a wide range of exciting companies, from global corporations to rapidly expanding SMEs.

    Whether you’re looking for European language graduate jobs or specialist positions to match your language skills in the likes of Mandarin, Arabic or Russian, our languages jobs board is the best place to start.